So you want to undertake research in ODL? Start with PREST!

Whenever I’m asked how to get started with research in open and distance learning, I have a one-word answer: PREST. Practitioner Research and Evaluation Skills Training (PREST) is a comprehensive set of resources produced by the Commonwealth of Learning and the International Research Foundation in Open Learning, and it is simply the best there is. Continue reading

Oh no, not another QA book!

A while back Tat Meng Wong and Insung Jung asked me to help out with the final stages of a book they were editing along with Tian Belawati: Quality Assurance in Distance Education and e-Learning: Challenges and Solutions from Asia. I happily obliged and forgot all about it until last week heard a knock at the door and there was the FedEx man with a parcel containing my copy of said book. Continue reading

I had Volume 1, Number 1 … and lost it!

In your journal collection (those of you who still possess such ancient tomes), do you have any first issues? On your shelf, is there a Number 1 from Volume 1 of a journal? I have just one, and you wouldn’t have to guess too hard to know that it’s from Distance Education, launched in Australia some 32 years ago. It was a great start to a great journal, one that has been a stalwart in the field for both new and established researchers and practitioners. Continue reading

The Idea of a University: Distance Education!

With the recent flurry of interest in Cardinal John Henry Newman (don’t tell me you missed his beatification on 19 September – that’s why the Pope made his ill-fated (‘ill-fêted’?) trip to the UK), attention has been given to his warm and entrancing notion of what constitutes a university. Yes, it’s a time for reflection on what was, what’s gone, what’s now and what might be with respect to our tertiary institutions, through reflection on Newman’s lectures on The Idea of a University. Continue reading

Life by e-learning

Now I don’t often write to the newspaper (you know, the whole ‘Angry of Mayfair’ thing), but I couldn’t help myself when I read the opinion piece ‘Death by e-learning’ in the Higher Education section of ‘The Australian’ newspaper. Writtten by one Gerry O. Nolan, ‘an e-learning technical consultant at a university in Sydney’, the article made a number of what I consider to be unsupported claims related to e-learning, universities, distance education and academics. Continue reading

Conference tales

Perusing the latest blockbuster issue of Distance Education (29, 1, 2008), the article by Don Bewley on the history of ASPESA (ODLAA’s predecessor) naturally caught my eye (and so it should – Som Naidu had flagged it with me!). Building on an earlier contribution by Alistair Inglis (Distance Education, 20, 1, 7-30, 1999), Don provides a special focus on the regional activities of ASPESA, in particular the South Pacific dimension.

What I found as I read through the article was that it rekindled memories of particular incidents and people associated with conferences. Continue reading